If, as Tertullian taught, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, in a liberal society church growth has to find its inspiration elsewhere. Western society was built partly on the premise that people shouldn’t have to suffer for their faith. That’s why talk of martyrdom often seems exotic or irrelevant in churches in the U.S.
Yet in recent days a Christian martyr and a would-be martyr have been in the news. Tom Fox, an American who went to Iraq to witness for peace as a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, was kidnapped and murdered there. In Afghanistan, Abdul Rahman faced the possibility of death at the hands of Muslims for having become a Christian (he was eventually given asylum in Italy).